Being pregnant has been a veritable devotional/worship experience, which completely caught me off-guard because I ignorantly reduced pregnancy to lots of eating, nausea, stretch marks, excruciating pain…and a beautiful baby.
I am still expecting the beautiful baby, but there are so many other lessons that the Lord is teaching me through this process, that I thank Him daily for His love, and for the gift my son has already been to me. For the next few weeks, I’d like to share with you what I am learning.
Lesson 1: Faith
Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.
I didn’t think I would be capable of having a baby. After a couple of years of newlywed bliss, and a few more candles added to my seemingly luminous birthday cake, my childlessness started to trouble me. I rationalized away the nagging fear of infertility for a while by reminding myself of how much I feared children, how I’ve never changed a diaper, how I probably wouldn’t make a great mom anyway.
The rationalizing was a ploy, because the truth was, I didn’t trust God with my fear. To my shame, I expected him to wield my fragile baby hopes against me like a weapon (I have this paranoid heresy that crops up too often that God’s Will = The Most Painful Thing. I hope you don't share this untrue thinking, but if you do - you're not alone).
I distinctly remember being surrounded by nature's beauty while on vacation in Colorado, surrounded by young families, eating good food and breathing in fresh air...and looking at yet another negative pregnancy test. And in the midst of this idyllic scene, I lost it. Like, alone-in-the-dark, rocking-back-and-forth, lost it. I cried, shouted, and sang mournfully to the Lord. I felt downright impolite because I finally admitted to Him that I was disappointed with His seeming inaction.
I think that the day I got real with God – through tears, snot, and fetal-position wailing about all my worry, pain, doubt, anger, helplessness and inadequacy – was the day I felt His presence, and with that, a reassurance that He would take me through the unknown.
Paul talks about a peace that surpasses understanding in Philippians 4:7. The Lord graced me with that peace, and let me tell you, it’s weird. It’s otherworldly. It’s way too potent and imminent and beautiful for me to take credit for. It’s the peace to cry and express, and…rest in God’s able hands, whatever the outcome. Which meant...baby or no baby.
That peace is like a lullaby that hushes the soul and quiets the heart. And only God-given faith can produce it. (Think of the man in this story: Mark 9:17-26: “I believe; help my unbelief!”)
I’m so far from perfect that I find myself often wanting to trade in these robes of faith and peace for the more familiar frocks of fear, apathy or despair, not just in pregnancy, but in all facets of life. I know these feelings; they require no faith, or growth, or risk. Or joy. I constantly return to crying out, “I believe, help my unbelief!”
What trips me out is that when I ask for help, Jesus actually does, just like He did in the book of Mark. His help is the assurance of His presence, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the crisis, no matter what the outcome.
I didn’t think we would have a baby. And then we got pregnant. Conceiving was a joyous and incredibly precious answer to prayer. But, the gift the Lord gave me first, which sustains me through a litany of fears, has been the gift of resting in His hands, no matter what. No matter what.
No matter what.